Most Mysterious Star in the Galaxy

“Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan

12.6.yc118 J114430 < Constellation 306 < Region 30

It’s been some time since I’ve posted an update, real life has kept me busy of late, so it is what it is. My wormhole journey continues, having hit 374 systems making that 14% of W-Space and 69% of all of New Eden explored. Still no ship losses. Since my last post, “W-Space – Why you not random?”, I’ve reached out to my corpmates in Signal Cartel and began Project “W”, where a few of us are recording our W-Space travels for 3 months. Which will end this month, then I hope to see what the data can tell us, if anything, as far as patterns and/or relationships between various classes of wormholes beyond what we already know. We may or may not see anything and the biggest issue we may not be able to overcome is having enough data to see anything. I’ll hold any further speculation until we bring Project “W” to a close and the results are posted later.

Having enough data to see anything leads nicely to a real life science initiative that’s found its way on Kickstarter, the “Most Mysterious Star in the Galaxy”. If you’re reading this blog, then I’m assuming you’re a SciFi nut with an interest in exploration, and with that being the case, it just doesn’t get more interesting than this.

KIC8462852_4yearsOn my blog post “Planter Hunters in the ‘Verse”, I shared my interest in a project that’s analyzing Kepler telescope data to look for planets orbiting distant stars. Well, it seems that project has turned up an interesting one indeed. If you’ve not heard about KIC 8462852, you should check it out. In a nut shell, the thought process behind planet hunters is to look for the dip in light when a planet crosses in front of a star as observed from Earth. To put this in perspective just how extraordinary KIC 8462852, which is the designation for the star in question, if someone from a distant star studied our solar system when Jupiter passed in front of our sun, they would see the light from our sun dim by about 1% for a few hours. KIC 8462852 had long periods of no indication of dimming to periods of multiple events lasting weeks and 100’s of days, dimming the light from its sun by up to 20%.


WTF? Project image designed by artist, Frank Okay

What does it mean? That’s where more data is required and why this Kickstarter is looking for funding and there’s only a few days left for them to reach their goal. Unfortunately, Kepler is no longer able to go back and gather that data. The project astronomers are looking to buy telescope time to continue that information gathering. Lots of speculation has been going on from various natural causes to advanced alien civilizations, but no one really knows. I love their Project name of “Where’s the Flux?” WTF? I love scientist that have a sense of humor, but more than that, I’m glad to see them be open minded. Until more data is gathered, we have no hope of knowing and sure it’s true, even then it may not be figured out. I’m with the lead astronomer on this one with my guess is that it’s a natural phenomenon, but what if it’s not?

Grace@NewEdenCaroline posted this on Twitter and she could be right…

If you love this kind of thing as much as I do, kick a few bucks in to the Kickstarter, there’s only a few more days left and they’ve not reached their goal yet. Who knows for sure what the reason is for this odd behavior is, I certainly don’t know, but what I do know is it’ll be extraordinary.

LightSail: Real Life Solar Sailing Spacecraft

LightSailOccasionally, I like to talk about real life science and exploration. This blog entry, I’d like to tell you about a new Kickstarter project that’s close to its ending date and so very close to reaching a major stretch goal. I’ll be honest and say this new era of internet crowd funding, with sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, makes me a little nervous. I’m an easy going, laid back, supportive type person. When I hear of a need and it’s something I feel I can help out with and it’s within my means to do so, I’ll do what I can. So, over the years I’ve been taken advantage of, given to things that ended up being a scam. I’ve not lost great sums of money, I’m not that crazy, but it still hurts and my faith in humanity deteriorates a little each time. From those experiences, I’ve become more critical of my giving, even for the kind of things that I believe in.

Which brings me this Kickstarter project that I feel I can’t ignore, LightSail: A Revolutionary Solar Sailing Spacecraft. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, it’s easy to see I love exploration both in game and out. I’m a big fan of science, especially in terms of space exploration, and I admire folks like Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye… and so on. Exploration is just part of my soul.

Bill Nye (yulp, the Science Guy) is currently the CEO of the Planetary Society which is a membership funded organization whose mission is to “Empower the world’s citizens to advance space science and exploration.” Basically meaning, your voice and funding goes directly to projects that promotes humanity’s future in space, exploration, and our next generation of creative young minds, around the world. The Planetary Society was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman, and one dream of theirs was the solar sail and it looks like… no… it IS becoming a reality today.

So what’s it do? Basically, it’s like a sailboat but instead of wind energy, it utilizes the sun’s energy, or light/photons, for momentum. The Kickstarter project is an opportunity to support and help launch LightSail, a craft that will help prove the concept and hopefully promote it as a means to support low-cost citizen projects (relatively speaking, of course). With its success, and I’m sure it will be successful, who knows what new horizons will be found as dozens of these could be launched on missions of all kinds.

With the backing of the Planetary Society and the promotion of folks like Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, there’s no doubt in my mind this particular Kickstarter is the real deal. At this moment, they’re just short of 1 million in support, coming in at $984,874, with only 5 days to go. You can give as little as a $1 or as much as you like. How can you not, if you’re an explorer at heart?

(PS: You’ll be able to see it from the ground as it orbits the Earth, like you can with the ISS. How cool is that? Especially, if you can point and say you had a part in it.)

Wanderings and Explorations

21.12.yc116 BW-WJ2 < QP6B-I Constellation < Tenerifis Region

OOC (Out of Character):


Rixx Javix, over on Eveoganda, posted a link to a video called “Wanderers”. It is a short film by Erik Wernquist with a narration by Carl Sagan, depicting futuristic recreations of actual places in our solar system. It truly captures, at least for me, what’s in an explorer’s heart. As a follower of my blog, if you’ve not seen it, watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

The Dawn of Orion

As it turns out, there’s been a great deal going on this last month towards our future exploration endeavors. On December 5th, 2014, NASA launched the Orion crew module on the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. It marks the beginning on a long journey to set the first human steps on Mars. With the current levels of funding, it’s believed that the first human to explore Mars is alive today. Optimistically, the timeframe puts us there in the 2020’s, with the 2030’s being probable, but unless the funding changes, I believe the 2040’s is more realistic.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover

Then there’s the little rover that could. Curiosity has made the news twice this month. First, is the discovery that Mars’ Mount Sharp shows evidence of having been built up over millions of years from sediment indicative of a large lake bed which you can read about here.

Then, just last week, the first definitive detection of organic molecules was made, which are the building blocks of life as we know it here on earth. Unfortunately, more evidence is required to determine if the presence of the molecules is truly from a form of life or from a chemical reaction. You can read more about this discovery here.

Many question the wisdom of spending billions of dollars on such explorations, but I see it as no different as our ancestors taking their first bold steps to the new world. The price was high, the risk was great, but so to were the rewards. Even today, a great deal of the technology that we take for granted can be traced back to the space program. Check out this site, NASA @ Home and City, to see how it’s impacted you.



Planet Hunters in the ‘Verse

18.04.yc116 Jeni < Jatari Constellation < Kor-Azor Region

OOC (Out of character):

Voyager I in the New Eden System

If you’re a fan of EVE Online or SciFi in general, and I’m assuming that you are since you’re here, then there’s probably a better than average chance that you’re a follower of real life space related news. That’s very true in my case. As a child growing up in the 60’s, I remember sitting in my elementary class room and watching NASA’s Apollo missions. At home, I recall watching the original Star Trek series on TV. Both stirred within me the sense, wonder, and awe that is our universe.

Today, with our advances in technology, the advent of the internet, and our ever increasing connectedness, we’re able to do many things that seemed unfathomable in days past. Who would have ever thought that a common person such as myself, could lend a hand or offer services to help in scientific pursuits? I believe the first such joint venture was the SETI at Home program. Where you could lend your personal computing power to aid in the data analysis for possible signals from beyond our solar system.

My character in EVE Online, Katia Sae, has a personal mission to visit every system in the game and record her journey by taking “pictures”, screen shots, of every planet along the way. In real life, like her, I’m offering my time and services to aid in the search for extraterrestrial planets via a website called Planet Hunters. So what is Planet Hunters?

Artist’s impression of the Kepler telescope

On March 7, 2009, NASA launched the Kepler spacecraft as part of their Discovery Program. Its mission was to survey a portion of our region in the Milky Way to discover Earth-sized extrasolar planets in or near the habitable zone of that systems star. The habitable, or Goldilocks, zone is basically an orbital distance around a star that would place a planet not too close as to be too hot, or too far away to be too cold for liquid water to pool on the surface and therefore provide an environment for life to form as we understand it today. The Kepler mission basically takes observational readings of a stars emitted light and looks for dips in the brightness to determine if something, such as a planet, crosses in front of the star.

Basically like how we could measure the sharp decease in light seen by us as our moon eclipses our sun. That’s a drastic example because what Kepler is really looking for is something more along the lines of how we would observe Mercury or Venus transiting across our sun. If you were to measure the light of our sun before the transit, it would be at a higher reading than when one of those planets passes in front of it, even as small of a measurement that loss of light would be. That’s the kind of minute measurements that Kepler’s data is being analyzed for. The interesting thing is, even with our computing power and mathematical analysis that we’re able to perform, there’s nothing like the human eye that can spot patterns where machines fail.

Artist concept of Kepler 186f

That’s where Planet Hunters comes in to play. The data from the Kepler project is visually presented in a manner that allows someone, a volunteer, to see how the brightness of a star changes over time. As of July 2012, over 12 million observations had been analyzed by human eyes and of those, 34 candidate planets had been found that the machines missed. Most amazing of all, two Planet Hunter volunteers found a Neptune-like planet orbiting a four star, double binary, system. That’s two sets of two stars, all orbiting each other, and the planet orbiting them. That’s a really complex solar system and really amazing that they found it simply by looking at the data. As Spock would say, “Fascinating”.

Just this last week on April 17th, 2014, scientist announced Kepler 186f to be the first near Earth sized planet to be found within the “Goldilocks zone” of its star. Now that’s not the first planet found. So far, the Kepler project has found 962 confirmed planets and 2,800 candidates that need to be studied and verified. Those planets have all either been outside the habitable zone, too large, or too small, to be considered as truly Earth like. We may never be able to fully verify that Kepler 186f is truly Earth like because of its 500 light-year distance from us and our current technological ability to study it, but it looks pretty good from what we know so far. It may be possible to positively verify Earth like planets that are closer to us, once we find them, via telescopes that can take temperature and mass measurements or by identifying molecules in their atmospheres.

Kepler186_SystemSo, it would seem at the moment, that possible Earth like planets are 1 in 1,000 or maybe 1 in 500 if you count us. So, when you consider the billions and billions of stars out there…. hmm. The Kepler team has estimated, based on their findings, that there are at least 50 billion planets in the Milky Way with at least 500 million in the habitable zone. That’s just OUR galaxy. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory stated if all galaxies have similar numbers as ours, then there could be sextillion “Earth analog” planets in our universe.

How’s that for a New Eden?

You can read more about the Kepler spacecraft and Planet Hunters via Wikipedia, which has all the links to the resources. Check out this resource of Kepler’s Tally of Planets. It visually shows and compares all of the systems and planets found so far with links to other articles about them. Really cool.

Fly safe!

Our Solar System compared to Kepler-186